CHINESE HAPPY BACKPACKERS

Living as I do within sprinting distance of the Olympic Stadium, I have been bombarded with references to the Games over the past few months and I suppose you could say I have become rather Olympic-weary.

This week I have been catching fleeting glimpses of smiling faces on the sides of buses with the words “We Come from China”. They are unlike any of the ads we normally see in London which I why I suppose I must have paid attention to them.

With a bit of digging, I discovered that Ogilvy’s Beijing arm created a campaign earlier this year for Yili, the leading Chinese dairy brand and official sponsor of the Olympic Chinese Sports Delegation. It’s called “Let’s Olympic Together,” and aims to uncover ordinary Chinese people’s extraordinary stories.

There are outdoor print ads, short films, TV commercials and digital engagement initiatives inspiring viewers to realise their own “Olympic” dreams by embracing a healthy lifestyle.

The first short film, Happy Backpackers, sits online on Youku (the Chinese equivalent of YouTube), and features an elderly couple who have made travel their personal “Olympic” challenge. Since the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the couple have backpacked through 46 countries in all 7 continents. They believe that good health allows them to travel with an Olympic spirit.

I found the film on YouTube. Even though I couldn’t understand a word of it, the story shines through:

The video was viewed over 10 million times in its first week.

The campaign ran until the end of June with consumers uploading their own Olympic stories onto Youku.

The constant sightings on my daily commute are the winning entries – the winners’ stories on the sides of 400 London buses during the Games.

I can’t imagine I will be able to buy Yili’s products in my local supermarket, but I’ve been engaged by the power of an advertising campaign aimed at people who live over 5,000 miles away!

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